All Hallows Barking. Restored by John Loughborough Pearson (1817-1897). 1892-5 (see Ward-Jackosn 6). Byward Street. London EC3. Left: Recent photograph by John Salmon. Right: Victorian view of interior (Biggs, frontispiece). [Click on these and the following images for larger pictures.]

Left: Pearson's own drawing of the northern elevation of the church, traced over by J. W. Bloe (Redstone, Plate 10). Right: Early 20c.drawing of the church by G. M. Ellwood (Day 1).

All Hallows, Barking, or All Hallows-by-the-Tower as it is also known, has been much written about and often illustrated. As the latter name suggests, it is the nearest church to the Tower of London. It is also considered to be the oldest church in the City, since it was originally founded as part of an abbey at Barking by the then Bishop of London, Eorconweald, in 675. Later it became the church of the Port of London. Such a church would, as one of its historians suggests, "naturally be rich in associations" (Biggs, Preface). Despite various transformations over the years, it retains a number of its early treasures along with its long and distinguished history:

Here was baptised the saintly Lancelot Andrewes, whose memory is kept green by his statue over the porch with those of the Madonna and St Ethelburga [sister of Eorconweald]. William Penn was baptised in the lost font here, and over his memorial hangs the flag of Pennsylvania. It was through the efforts of his father that All Hallows escaped the Fire [the Great Fire of London], for Admiral Penn sent workmen from the King's Yards to blow up houses with gunpowder, so robbing the fire of its fuel.... Here also was married John Quincy Adams, who became President of the United States. (Mee 268-69)

Pearson's sympathetic work on the church was praised a few years later in the nineteenth-century by the architectural historian Thomas Francis Bumpus, who said that "no medieval City church has undergone so quiet and conservative a restoration" (166). It is good to see a Victorian restoration commended in this way. Sadly, however, All Hallows was badly bombed in the Second World War, and was largely rebuilt by Lord Mottistone of the firm of Seely & Paget "in dull 1950s reproduction Gothic" (Jenkins 464). But the tower, the walls, many brasses, and various other older elements remain, including the statues that graced the exterior of Pearson's stone porch. It is tempting to assume that in bold outline the church, even as it stands today, still reflects something of Pearson's characteristic approach to church architecture, with "restful horizontals, continuous rooflines, sharp contours, square sections, undisturbed rectangular profiles" and an "overall emphasis ... on the vertical" (Dixon and Muthesius 219).

Related Material

Caption by Robert Freidus, and commentary by George P. Landow and Jacqueline Banerjee. [You may use these images without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit the photographer or source, and (2) link your document to this URL in a web document or cite the Victorian Web in a print one.] Formatting by George P. Landow.


Biggs, C. R. D. "Berkyngechurche by the Tower": The Story and Work of Allhallows, Barking. London: Waterlow & Sons, 1899. Internet Archive. Web. 15 August 2011.

Bumpus, Thomas Francis. Ancient London Churches. London: T. Werner Laurie, c.1908. Internet Archive. Web. 15 August 2011.

Day, E. Hermitage. Some London Churches. London: Mowbray, 1911. Dixon, Roger, and Stefan Muthesius. Victorian Architecture. 2nd ed. London: Thames & Hudson, 1985.

Jenkins, Simon. England's Thousand Best Churches. Rev. ed. London: Penguin, 2009.

Mee, Arthur. London: Heart of the Empire and Wonder of the World. The King's England series. London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1937.

Redstone, Lilian J. Survey of London: Volume 12, The Parish of All Hallows Barking, Part I: The Church of All Hallows. (1929). British History Online. Web. 15 August 2011.

Ward-Jackson, Philip. Public Sculpture of the City of London. Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2003.

(See also "All Hallows by the Tower." Church website.)

Last modified 15 August 2011